This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

October 06, 2004

Hawaii and Minnesota to Boost Ethanol Use

New actions by the governors of Hawaii and Minnesota aim to significantly increase the use of ethanol as a motor fuel in those states.

In Hawaii, Governor Linda Lingle signed new administrative rules to implement a law requiring at least 85 percent of Hawaii's gasoline to contain at least 10 percent ethanol, beginning in April 2006. An estimated 40 million gallons of ethanol are needed to meet the requirement, but Hawaii's sugar cane industry is estimated to be capable of producing 90 million gallons of year in the near-term, and more than 400 million gallons as a mature industry. See the governor's press release.

In Minnesota, Governor Tim Pawlenty announced an initiative to double the amount of ethanol in the state's fuel, from today's 10 percent blend to an E-20 blend, which contains 20 percent ethanol. The proposed mandate will take effect when at least half the new vehicles sold in the state have warranties that allow E-20, or by 2010, whichever comes first. The governor is sending letters to all major auto manufacturers, requesting that they update their warranties to cover the use of E-20. In addition, the governor signed an executive order to cut the state government's use of gasoline in half by 2015 and cut its use of diesel fuel by a quarter by 2015. The state will use increased fuel efficiency, alternative fuels, and reductions in miles driven in order to meet its goals. See the governor's press release.

Thanks in part to such state initiatives, the U.S. ethanol fuel industry continues to grow. The industry has set all-time monthly production records each month this year, with the latest record at 222,000 barrels per day in June (announced on September 8th). Currently, 81 ethanol plants nationwide have the capacity to produce over 3.4 billion gallons annually, and 11 ethanol plants are under construction. See the press releases from the Renewable Fuels Association.